Theme of Isolation in the Scarlet Letter

Topics: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne Pages: 2 (826 words) Published: November 1, 2011
Isolation: An Internal Struggle
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter, the main characters face the theme of isolation. Every single one of them deals with it internally, however, two of them must face it externally as well. To feel isolated is like standing in a crowded room, constantly filling with familiar faces but yet the feeling of emptiness or aloneness still lingers. It’s a battle with humanity as well as your own mind; in a particular case in The Scarlet Letter it drove a man crazy.

Being driven crazy was a problem in Roger Chillingworth’s life. He returned from Europe and found the news of his wife’s betrayal of committing adultery. Chillingworth began a man hunt, he made it his absolute mission to hunt down the other man in Hester’s life and expose him for the rat he was. Roger then begins to live a lie, claiming to be someone he isn’t, to gain respect from the people and discover who the rat was. This desire to find the man dwelt in his mind and tore his head up. His only goal in life was too seek revenge upon the man whom slept with his wife. This journey twisted his mind and changed everything about him. He was isolated from the man he used to be, a caring older gentleman. He was isolated mentally and emotionally from all the other townspeople. He would not let them in and know his true identity. He was isolated from a woman he was married to, someone he was joined to by a piece of paper, not by heart.

The man whom was joined to Hester by heart suffered from isolation as well. Arthur Dimmesdale was the other man in Hester’s life and fathered her baby girl, Pearl. Even though Hester was a target to the townspeople and lived with the embarrassment every day, Arthur did not. None of the townspeople knew that Arthur was the baby’s father until the end of the book. This aspect of guilt and shame grows over time in Arthur’s mind and drives him insane. It causes him to do traumatic things to himself just as on page 217 the text reads,...
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